A state-of-the-art new facility making unique vertical lift technology for fighter jets has been opened by Defence Minister Stuart Andrew in Bristol, UK.
The ‘LiftWorks’ facility, which has opened at Rolls-Royce in Bristol, makes the ‘LiftSystem’ to provide F-35 fighter jets with a fan propulsion system that allows them to take off over short distances, hover, swivel mid-air and land vertically.
The technology is vital to the jets being able to operate from aircraft carriers, and comes ahead of the stealth jets completing their first trials off the flight deck of Britain’s largest ever warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The Bristol site is not only making the LiftFan for UK jets, but for all F-35B jets on order across the world.
The site is set to support more than 100 jobs in the area. More than £20 million was put into transforming the former Defence Manufacturing building into an advanced facility dedicated to developing the technology.
UK Defence Minister, Stuart Andrew, said: “As we build up to the iconic first F-35 take-offs from our brand-new aircraft carrier, it is timely to open this Bristol site which is making it all possible. The incredibly powerful systems made at this high-tech facility mean our jets will be able to operate from British sovereign territory anywhere across the world’s seas to fight any adversaries which threaten us. The F-35 programme is the biggest in the history of defence, and is supporting a hundred jobs here at LiftWorks – as well as thousands more right across the country.”
The LiftSystem, which has a thrust strong enough to lift 17 Mini cars and a clutch that provides enough torque to turn the London Eye, was designed and developed by teams of engineers at Rolls Royce in Bristol and Indianapolis.